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Enlarged Photograph (49kB)

The war of the Axis against Greece

The German strategy: Plan 'Marita'
The choices of the Balkan countries
The results
The war with Germany

The results

The German strategy diagnosed correctly the desire of the Turkish government to avoid a military encroachment in an unequal struggle in the Balkans and moved swiftly to neutralise the country before the beginning of the German attack. Turkish neutrality appeared as a long-term strategic choice of the Turkish government, which would lead to the signing of the Turkish-German Pact of Friendship in June 1941.

On the other hand, Greece's Balkan policy offered no strategic or military cover whatsoever to the country at a time when the Greek government desperately needed every form of assistance from her neighbours. In making its intention to attack the Balkans known from the winter of 1941, the German government succeeded in using its political weight and the threat of military retaliations in order to avert the possibility of collective resistance in that region. The Greek government, in cooperation with the insufficient British forces, was determined to resist but did not nurture many hopes for overcoming the German military power.

From this point of view, the coup d'etat in Yugoslavia on 27 March, when a group of military officials managed to overthrow the Cvetkovic government, created fresh hopes as it shifted the military orientation of Yugoslav policy against the Axis. However, the extremely narrow margins of time between the coup and the advance of the German troops into Yugoslavia did not permit the effective defence of the Yugoslav territory or a constructive military cooperation with Greece for the harmonisation of the two countries' defensive plans.

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